Archery hunts loom in August

Story by Standard-Examiner staff
July 21, 2011
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It’s time to dust off the bow and arrows and get ready for Utah’s archery elk and deer hunts, which begin a month from today.

Both hunts start on Aug. 20, and it’s likely that those who have already started preparing will have the most fun and successful outings.

All of the archery permits to hunt deer in Utah this year have been taken. But archery elk permits, which go on sale July 27, are unlimited.

“With unlimited archery elk permits available,” said Scott Root, a conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, “you should consider introducing yourself to archery hunting this fall.”

Unlike a rifle hunter, an archer must use stealth and patience to sneak within at least 50 yards of his or her prized target.

“Just like with golf, a lot of frustration can result if you haven’t honed your skills,” Root said. “You need to practice shooting until you’re as accurate as you can be.”

He said those looking to hunt on private property should get written permission from the landowner now, instead of waiting until a few days before the hunt starts.

An equipment checklist is an important aspect of preparing for the hunt. Many mistakes happen when hunters forget some of their equipment and try to make do without it.

“Most hunters have left their release mechanism, their rangefinder or appropriate clothing at home at least once in their life,” Root said. “Almost any archer can share at least one frustrating story about leaving something at home.”

Bugs may be a particularly large nuisance this year. Because Utah has received a lot of moisture, Root said hunters will encounter plenty of mosquitoes, biting deer flies and biting horse flies during the archery hunt.

While insect repellent may project more odor than a stealthy hunter wants to have, he said it might be worth it this time around.

Warm to hot temperatures is another challenge archery hunters face. During the archery hunt in August, temperatures can climb into the 90s, and some hunters aren’t prepared to properly process a big game animal once they’ve taken it.

“The meat needs to be taken care of quickly,” Root said, “or it will spoil.”

Of course, knowing the rules is critical. The 2011 Utah Big Game Field Regulation Guidebook, available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks and from DWR offices and hunting license agents across the state, is the place to go to learn the rules for Utah’s archery hunts.

Some like to place trail cameras in the area they will be hunting before going out, but remember that cameras are prohibited on national forest land until one week before the hunt on that forest starts.

Tree stands are a popular tool for patient archery hunters, but permanent tree stands are off-limits on national forest. Temporary tree stands — the type you climb up the tree with — are legal to use.

Taking the DWR’s Bowhunter Education course is another great way to prepare for the upcoming season. The course teaches the basics of archery hunting and is for youth and adults alike. Visit www.wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/huntereducation.html to learn more about the course.

Even when the general archery elk hunts wrap up in September, archery hunting will continue on three different extended archery areas in Utah. The three areas are located along the Wasatch Front, in the Uintah Basin and in the Sanpete Valley.

Archery hunting in these areas starts Aug. 20 and runs into December. To hunt any of the extended archery areas, you must complete the DWR’s Archery Ethics Course and carry your certificate of completion with you while you’re hunting.

The course is now available online. Visit http://go.usa.gov/Z4S and click on “Begin the course.”

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